Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Journal Swallows Up Tucson's CW

Tucson now has its second TV duopoly: Journal Broadcast group, which owns KGUN-9 (ABC) is buying KWBA-58 (CW) for an undisclosed amount (hint: cheap).

The big question: will KGUN launch a 9pm newscast on their new sister station? I'm betting on it. If anything, it would end the free ride of KMSB's 9pm show, a quilt of segments produced in Tucson and Phoenix and anchored from KTVK in Phoenix with sports coming from KMSB's Tucson studio. KMSB is one-half of Tucson's other duopoly, with KTTU as the other half, both owned by Belo.

My station, KOLD News 13 produced a 9pm newscast for KWBA from 2003 to 2005. We wanted to continue the arrangement, but our people and their people didn't see eye to eye on what kind of newscast it should be. Those were the old managers, and the new managers won't have that problem. Don't be surprised if it's branded as "KGUN 9 On Your Side on CW58."

But what's best for KWBA is that it will likely get an equipment upgrade. Once upon a time, they operated out of a nice building on Palo Verde with several edit suites. Then, somehow, that morphed into an office on Campbell with most of the station's technical operation running by remote control from out of state through a rack mount unit sitting at KVOA. It's called "hub broadcasting," and it's inexpensive, but my old-school TV mentality gets queasy at a master control without a person behind the control -- in the same room.

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